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Honduras, Act III, Day 13/Update 3

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2009

Update3: Adrienne Pine has the translation of a statement from Dr. Juan Almendares, a heroic human rights figure and former university provost at the National University:

. This is a call to all students, professors, and authorities to join the resistance to the military coup. The real teaching and learning is happening in the streets, fighting together with the people, united with the resistance. Not doing so is to betray the people and the nation.

Tiempo, which has been nervously half-reporting on the coup, got a taste of the devil they’re dealing with when (at the university demo) photojournalist Héctor Clara Cruz was beaten, threatened and the cops tried to destroy his equipment. “Son of a whore, stop that s–t and stop taking pictures of us because if you don’t we’re going to rip off your dick” would be a fair translation of the warning issued by peace officers. There was a peaceful demonstration by thousands in front of the Supreme Court.
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Update2: Adrienne Pine has a report that hundreds of students were wounded by gunshots. It’s very specific that these were lead, not rubber. It seems to me that either there must be many fatalities or these must have been rubber bullets. Added: this is increasingly looking like a false report. Telesur mentions no fatalities.
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Update: I have corrected errors in the post below, including some links that went missing.

RadioGlobo, against all expectation, is still on the air, though my feed keeps bollixing. Eduardo Maldonado is discussing conflict at the university, though I got in late and it’s not clear if this is an incident today or in the past [Evidently 100 university students “rejected” presidential candidate Elvin Santos, after Santos’ bodyguards pistol whipped and menaced people. Shots were fired. According to Tiempo, the police ejected 3,000 students with tear gas and water cannons. A woman, rector of the university, was beaten by the police and wrestled to the ground.]. Maldonado says there is a media war, trying to smear Zelaya’s people–and even Hugo Llorens– as having received money from FARC. And he’s reading a number of the nastygrams they have received, calling him a “garbage dog” among many other not very creative insults. A report from the university says things have calmed down, but there are no classes. It sounds as if a tear gas bomb went off, and then there was firing, and that there are conflicting reports of how many injuries. (connection lost)

Jose Torres on the meeting between Zelaya and Llorens in Managua on 7/31. An interview with Salvador Zúñiga of COPINH (the Civic Council of Honduran Popular and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations).
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Al Giordano has word on why Radio Globo was broadcasting despite the coup having ordered its closing: they are taking a stand, and the public is protecting them.

Image from Indymedia
(Photo from cmi honduras, Indymedia)

Al says that the coupistas are targeting older and pregnant women for harassment, presumably with the goal of causing miscarriages in the latter and deaths among the former. I’m just waiting for the Cardinal to speak up about that.

RAJ has this:

Edmundo Orellana, the defense minister who resigned from the Zelaya government the week before the coup to register his disagreement with President Zelaya, and who since the coup has spoken out against the unconstitutional nature of the actions of Congress and the army, has published a new editorial calling for acceptance of the San Jose Accord.

In it, he briefly summarizes the many violations of Constitutional procedure that make the coup illegal.


Orellana, who is a legal scholar, lists:

  • The Congress did not have the power to decree Zelaya’s removal (Art. 205, no. 12). The Congress may reject the conduct of an Executive, not the Executive (Art. 205, no. 20). Only the courts may do that (Arts. 303 and 304)
  • Judicial warrants must be served by police, not the army (Art. 293, 272)
  • Zelaya should have been brought to a judicial co9nfinement facility (Art. 85)
  • Zelaya was unlawfully expelled to Costa Rica (Art. 102)
  • Via Adrienne Pine, who got this from Hermano Juancito, Catholic News Service says:

    Honduran bishop says wealthy elite were behind ouster of president

    EUGENE, Oregon (CNS) — A Catholic bishop in western Honduras said members of the country’s wealthy elite were behind the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. Bishop Luis Santos Villeda of Santa Rosa de Copan also said the country needs a dialogue between the elite and Honduras’ poor and working-class citizens. “Some say Manuel Zelaya threatened democracy by proposing a constitutional assembly. But the poor of Honduras know that Zelaya raised the minimum salary. That’s what they understand. They know he defended the poor by sharing money with mayors and small towns. That’s why they are out in the streets closing highways and protesting (to demand Zelaya’s return),” the bishop told Catholic News Service. In a July 30 telephone interview, he said it is misleading to consider Honduras a democracy, either before or after the June 28 coup. “There has never been a real democracy in Honduras. All we have is an electoral system where the people get to choose candidates imposed from above. The people don’t really have representation, whether in the Congress or the Supreme Court, which are all chosen by the rich. We’re the most corrupt country in Central America, and we can’t talk about real democracy because the people don’t participate in the decisions,” he said.

    Speaking of Hermano Juancito, he has a beautiful article (with pictures) on a speech by the bishop and Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos, Bishop of Santa Rosa de Copán:

    In his homily, Monseñor Santos noted that because of his outspoken opposition to open-pit cyanide leeching gold mining, including the San Andrés mine in the diocese, he has lost friends which has hurt him. But, he said, one must speak up.

    Noting the desperate situation of Honduras he noted that “We’re tired of all these thieves,” and “We have to leave these deadly waters.”

    Adrienne also mentions an article in cubadebate in which it says Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Madariaga, who has sided with the coup, was blocked from entering a church in San Salvador by thousands of anti-coup protestors.

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    7 Responses to “Honduras, Act III, Day 13/Update 3”

    1. The bishop of Santa Rosa is Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos Villeda. They are not two separate persons.

    2. Thanks for this, Charles.

    3. Nell said

      Here’s the Tiempo coverage (AFP story) of the attack on the university. The students had done a street roadblock with burning tires, and the police and military not only drove them off the street but pursued them onto the campus, tear gassing, beating, and shooting. Pretty much the forces’ m.o. in the last week’s responses to roadblocks, with the added shock of invading the campus and their assault on the administrators who came out to try to pacify things.

      • Charles II said

        In most of Latin America, universities are regarded as states unto themselves. In Oaxaca, when there were very serious riots there a couple of years ago, there was intense public outrage when the police crossed into the university. In this case, it seems likely to me that the police entered the university as retribution for the ejection of Elvin Santos the day early. Roughing up the Rector was almost certainly a message that the university was under direct state control.

        I’m just glad that the report of hundreds injured por balas de plomo seems to have been wrong.

    4. Nell said

      Oh, damn. Sorry about the unclosed tag.

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